MANILA, Philippines - Though the Philippines boasts a healthy number of volunteers for International Coastal Cleanup Day, the amount of trash found in our seas is rising every year, said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
According to the Washington-based group Ocean Conservancy, the volume of ocean trash recorded by volunteers doubled annually since 2010.
That year, 145,000 volunteers picked up a total of 240,360 kilograms of trash. In 2011, around 114,418 volunteers collected 485,091 kilos. In 2012, 144,000 people retrieved more than 1.3 million kilos.
"The population is increasing so more resources are consumed and more waste is produced," Save Philippine Seas chief Anna Oposa explained.
"We aren't moving that much in terms of proper facilities or waste management. We still lack proper materials recovery facilities, landfills, recycling programs and the like," she said.
And though more Filipinos are now aware of the importance of keeping our oceans clean, "awareness is different from action."
"For instance, one knows that one of the top marine pollutants is cigarette butts but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll stop smoking or even just throw their cigarette butts properly. If the facilities and programs aren't there, awareness can only go so far," she told Rappler.